The term means, in it simplest denotation, pertaining to the evangel, which is the Christian gospel, or good news, that God redeems sinful humanity through His son, Jesus Christ. Evangelicals have stressed that people find salvation only through personal faith in Christ's atoning death and through the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit. They find these views to be the central theme of the Bible, which they hold to be divinely inspired and the ultimate authority for their Christian faith and practice The label "Evangelical" also denotes these Christians' commitment to proclaim this gospel to others by word and deed. 1
Variations time and place have nuanced the term's meaning and usage, and loaded it with much historic freight. The "Evangelical" label was first used by the churches of the Lutheran Reformation in the sixteenth century, but it gained wider currency during the widespread revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when "Evangelical" became the common label for movements of spiritual renewal and evangelistic outreach within Protestantism. This generic understanding of "Evangelical" also makes it an appropriate label for contemporary Biblicist and charismatic movements within the Roman Catholic Church.
In late twentieth-century usage, "Evangelical" also frequently connotes "conservative," in that the Evangelical movements and traditions have opposed theological li ...Show more